Crossing the Rubikhan


Posted on 16 Apr 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Salut! We’re thrilled to announce that we have filled the biggest gap in our preparations to drive across Eurasia: we bought a car! Thanks to our friends over at eBay (including CEO John Donahoe, a Dartmouth College alumnus), the buying process was relatively easy—aside from 15 extremely stressful minutes huddled around a computer together, watching the clock tick down on the auction, hoping someone wouldn’t swoop in at the end to snipe the car with a better offer.

Our (hopefully) trusty steed is a silver 2004 Suzuki Alto, which is a small 5-door hatchback. While we have yet to name our car, we’re pretty confident it’s a she-mobile. You can check her out in the pictures below. She’s currently located in England, but fortunately for us, her steering wheel is on the proper side of the dashboard. (Most of the UK-based teams participating in the rally choose to purchase RHD cars, and are consequently forced to drive on wrong side of the road for the 98% of the trip that isn’t on their strange little island. Suckers!)

Our mistress comes equipped with a 1.1L engine, which produces a whopping 62 horsepower—or the equivalent of two Nicks. She also boasts anti-anti-lock brakes, airbags (read: trashbags filled with air), and a host of other modern conveniences, such as headlights. Her 8 inches of clearance should be more than enough to carry us over all those Kazakh potholes and Gobi Desert rivers we’re bound to encounter. Granted, she’s not exactly a Land Rover, but this particular model has a surprisingly excellent reputation for all-terrain driving. We have high hopes that she’ll get us to Ulaanbaatar. Anyway, without further ado, here’s a first look at our new baby girl:

car pic1

Before our gal is roadworthy, however, she needs a bit of TLC. Our friend Errol, who lives across the pond and runs a little company called Coastline Campers, has agreed to take care of some of the most critical maintenance tasks: replacing the filters, brakepads, tires, sparkplugs, and  other things that sound disturbingly unfamiliar to us, fitting a sump guard and a snorkel, and adorning our little Alto with some menacing racing stripes.

We’ve got some other modifications in mind—like affixing a massive stuffed yak’s head to the roof, and adding some sweet hydraulics. Inspired by the video below, we’ve even considered souping up the suspension a bit:

 We’d love to hear your suggestions, so feel free to leave a comment below. And of course, if you’d like to help us pay for any of these modifications, head on over to our donation page—we’ll be eternally grateful for your support.

In any case, here are a couple more pictures of our gal, just for good measure:

car pic2
car pic3

We’ll definitely keep you posted on her transformation from granny-mobile into tarmac-eater.

Cheers for now,


  1. Mike Thomas / April 16th, 2014 15:43

    Hopefully a couple of you numbskulls know how to handle a manual transmission…….


  2. Rick Wilson / April 18th, 2014 15:48

    You guys need some bull bars on that thing to carry road kill for shashlik!


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